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Feb 7, 2012

Payroll tax talks mired in election-year politics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican and Democratic leaders accused each other of bad faith negotiations on Tuesday as both parties played hardball in talks to extend a tax cut for 160 million workers.

Both sides agree the payroll tax cut should be renewed for a full year before it expires on February 29, and its extension has been seen as a foregone conclusion. But the parties are far apart over how to pay for it and the rancor of election-year politics has complicated the search for a deal.

Feb 3, 2012

Senate Democrats ready backup plan on payroll tax bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Democrats have begun preparing a backup plan to extend a tax cut for workers if a special congressional negotiating committee fails to reach quick agreement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Friday.

Reid’s comments, in a conference call with reporters, were seen by some congressional aides as a signal to Republicans that he is prepared to play hard ball on an issue that favors Democrats in an election year.

Feb 3, 2012

Republicans eye government jobs to limit defense cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top Senate Republicans wanting to spare the military from further deep spending cuts on Thursday unveiled a money-saving proposal to slash the federal workforce by 5 percent instead.

Some $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts across domestic and military programs are due to kick in from 2013 as part of a 10-year deficit reduction deal agreed to by lawmakers last year. Half of the cuts, or $600 billion, would fall on the military.

Feb 2, 2012

Republicans push to stop automatic U.S. spending cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Wide-ranging U.S. spending cuts set to kick in next year for domestic and military programs would be scrapped by a proposal that some top Republicans plan to outline on Thursday.

Senator John McCain has joined forces with assistant Senate Republican leader Jon Kyl and other party members to introduce legislation that would eliminate the first installment of $1.2 trillion in automatic spending reductions over a decade.

Feb 2, 2012

House votes to repeal part of healthcare law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to repeal a provision of President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul setting up a home-care program for the elderly and disabled that regulators said was unworkable.

The Republican-led House voted 267-159 for the bill that would terminate the Community Living Assistance Services(CLASS) Act that was supposed to create a voluntary insurance program to help the elderly and disabled pay for home care.

Jan 19, 2012

Democrats to press advantage in payroll tax cut fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Democrats in upcoming talks to extend a tax cut for workers will to try to extract concessions from Republicans who are anxious to avoid a repeat of last month’s battle over the payroll tax that left them in disarray.

Democrats plan to push to renew some tax breaks for businesses and individuals that expired at the end of December, potentially complicating the payroll tax cut negotiations between the Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House of Representatives.

Dec 20, 2011

Scenarios – U.S. payroll tax break fate uncertain

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A tax break for about 160 million U.S. workers is set to expire in 11 days and Republicans in the House of Representatives and Democrats are mired in a battle over extending it.

The House on Tuesday rejected a two-month extension approved overwhelmingly by the Senate after Republican and Democratic leaders failed to reach agreement on a year-long break on the tax workers pay into the Social Security retirement system.

Dec 20, 2011

Scenarios: Payroll tax break fate uncertain

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A tax break for about 160 million workers is set to expire in 11 days and Republicans in the House of Representatives and Democrats are mired in a battle over extending it.

The House on Tuesday rejected a two-month extension approved overwhelmingly by the Senate after Republican and Democratic leaders failed to reach agreement on a year-long break on the tax workers pay into the Social Security retirement system.

Dec 20, 2011

Broken U.S. tax code joins two lawmakers in quest

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While party leaders battle over a last-minute payroll tax deal, the two top tax writers in Congress are quietly reaching across the partisan divide to build a bridge for what could become a major restructuring of U.S. tax law.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and David Camp, who chairs the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives, may not always see eye-to-eye.

Dec 20, 2011

U.S. payroll tax cut extension stuck in partisan fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With a tax cut for 160 million U.S. workers set to expire in less than two weeks, Republicans and Democrats in Congress on Monday were mired in a last-ditch battle over extending it.

In a surprise turnabout, Republicans in the House of Representatives are now pushing for a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut and have rejected a short-term compromise struck by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate at the weekend.

    • About Donna

      "Washington congressional correspondent specializing in economics, taxes and budget issues. Covered the healthcare reform legislation and President George W. Bush's push to overhaul Social Security. Also covered the savings and loan crisis and spent time covering the White House during President Bill Clinton's administration. Covered trade and Federal Reserve policy as well."
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